Cultural Heritage News

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  • 02 May 2016 9:32 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Drive to bring home stolen heritage

    India Pride Project aims to restitute artefacts smuggled out of country

    Published: 20:40 April 29, 2016 Gulf News

    By Sandhya R Rajayer Special to Gulf News

    New Delhi: In 2003, Jaipur-based art dealer Vaman Ghiya was arrested and confessed to having stolen and exported more than 10,000 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, idols and a dismantled Mughal pavilion the size of a house. Ghiya was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment, But in January 2014 that conviction was quashed by an appeals court because of procedural irregularities during the police prosecution.

    Then in 2011, Indian-born Subhash Kapoor who owned the Art of The Past art gallery in New York, was arrested after US Homeland Security investigators raided Kapoor’s warehouses and found a cache of 2,622 stolen artefacts and evidence that led to an illicit business worth more than a $100 million (Dh367 million). He is at present on trial in Chennai. But the heritage art community fears that justice may not be served this time either. 

    http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/india/drive-to-bring-home-stolen-heritage-1.1815066

  • 28 Apr 2016 11:00 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Stolen Buddhist Artifact Returned to Pakistan

    By KEVIN LESSMILLER 

    ShareThis  

         MANHATTAN (CN) — Prosecutors said a 2nd-century Buddhist sculpture was returned to Pakistan after an art dealer's plan to sell the stolen artifact for $1.1 million was foiled.
         Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Wednesday that the Kushan Period artifact, which depicts the "footprint of the Buddha," was given back to the country during a repatriation ceremony.
         The Buddhapada sculpture was stolen from an archeological site in Pakistan's Swat Region in the 1980s and was recovered after this year's arrest and prosecution of art dealer Tatsuzo Kaku, according to Vance.
         Prosecutors say Kaku, 70, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree criminal possession of stolen property. 

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/04/28/stolen-buddhist-artifact-returned-to-pakistan.htm

  • 28 Apr 2016 10:58 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Native American Determination for Kennewick Man

    Based upon review and analysis of new information related to the skeleton known as Kennewick Man,

    and in particular, evidence provided by recently published DNA and skeletal analyses, I find that there is substantial evidence to determine that Kennewick Man is related to modern Native Americans from the United States. Therefore, the human remains are Native American under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), as described below.

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/04/28/Kennewick%20Man.pdf 

     

  • 28 Apr 2016 10:56 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)
    Kennewick Man Was Native American After All

    By NICK MCCANN 

    ShareThis  

         PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Kennewick Man, a 9,000-year-old skeleton that created a furor when scientists said it appeared to be from a European settler, was Native American after all, the Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday.
         The discovery of the almost complete skeleton along the Columbia River in 1996 led to two decades of controversy.
         Named for the town near the site where two college students stumbled upon the skeleton, Kennewick Man created heated debate over who owned the remains, and its genetic origins. 

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/04/28/kennewick-man-was-native-american-after-all.htm

  • 27 Apr 2016 1:19 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Apathy towards antiquities

      A. Srivathsan

    With poor documentation of existing and stolen artefacts, outdated laws, and unqualified investigative agencies, India’s record in preserving its past is deplorable

    The Indian government’s response in the Kohinoor case has exposed its insensate ignorance. It not only got the facts wrong, but appeared embarrassingly out of depth in understanding restitution of antiquities. Given the poor track record in restitution, it seems unlikely that India will get the Kohinoor back. But the greater worry is its apathy towards antiquities. While countries such as Italy have not only successfully pursued stolen artefacts abroad but also effectively protected them locally, India, which is equally archaeologically rich and a victim of illicit trading, is far from it.

    Studies have exhaustively documented the origins of the Kohinoor diamond in India, its complicated trail, and its eventual placement in the British royal crown. History does not leave to doubt that Lord Dalhousie forcefully acquired it from the young king Duleep Singh in 1849 when the East India Company annexed Punjab. Dalhousie compelled Singh to gift the diamond to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria as a “memorial of conquest”. However, later, as historian Danielle Kinsey’s research would show, Singh unsuccessfully demanded the return of the diamond.

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/kohinoor-diamond-case-comment-article-by-a-srivathsan-on-apathy-towards-antiquities/article8524622.ece

  • 27 Apr 2016 1:15 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    ISIS Destroys Two Gates in Ancient City of Nineveh

    Members of ISIS have destroyed two large gates in Iraq’s ancient city of Nineveh, which once served as the capital of the Neo-Assyrian empire. Michael Danti, co-director of the American Schools of Oriental Research’s Cultural Heritage Initiative (CHI) and archaeology professor at Boston University, last week confirmed the destruction of the Nergal and Mashki Gates based on photographic evidence. CHI obtained the images from “trusted sources” in Mosul, who also verified their legitimacy. The initiative is an international collaborative effort that works with the US State Department to document the conditions of heritage sites in Syria and Iraq.

    An image shared exclusively on National Geographic reveals a backhoe crossing a flat landscape surrounded by a cloud of dust. While ISIS often uses explosives to blow up archaeological sites, it has been known to favor heavy construction equipment as well, so such a technique would align with the group’s past cultural crimes.

    http://hyperallergic.com/293232/isis-destroys-two-gates-in-ancient-city-of-nineveh/

  • 27 Apr 2016 1:07 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    House sends bill to Obama limiting ISIS profits from cultural destruction

    By Cristina Marcos  

    The House sent legislation to President Obama’s desk on Tuesday that would help prevent the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from profiting from damaged or stolen cultural artifacts.

    The measure, which cleared easily by voice vote, would restrict U.S. imports on archaeological material from Syria since the start of its civil war. The U.S. already has a similar prohibition for Iraq.

    However, the bill allows exemptions for temporarily moving specific cultural objects to the U.S. for protection. 

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/277759-house-sends-bill-to-obama-limiting-isis-profits-from-cultural

  • 21 Apr 2016 8:04 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Islamic State Committing ‘Cultural Genocide’ by Selling Priceless Antiques to Westerners

    by Edwin Mora20 Apr 201656

    20 Apr, 2016 20 Apr, 2016

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Expert witnesses, while testifying before a House panel about the unprecedented level of looting and destruction of priceless antiques by jihadist groups across the Middle East, identified collectors from Europe and the United States as top buyers of ancient artifacts illegally sold by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS).

    On Tuesday, the experts testified before the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing during a hearing titled “Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS.”

    The Islamic State is committing “cultural genocide” as it plunders and sells ancient artifacts to fund its terrorist activities, the lawmakers learned from the experts.

    Looting perpetrated by ISIS is occurring on an “unprecedented scale” and is serving as a significant source of funding for the group, the United Nations has warned.

    http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/04/20/islamic-state-committing-cultural-genocide-selling-priceless-antiques-westerners/

  • 21 Apr 2016 8:00 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    US largest market for antiquities looted by ISIS

    The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, funds its operations via the sale of antiquities among other means.

    By Washington Desk -

    April 19, 2016

    WASHINGTON (Talk Media News)  – The United States is the largest market for the Islamic State militant group’s illicit trade in plundered antiquities, according to Patty Gerstenblith, a professor at DePaul University College of Law.

    The sale of antiquities and other cultural artifacts stolen from museums, private collections and archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria have raised the need for long- and short-term solutions with tracking information of objects that come in and leave the country, she said before the House Financial Services Committee, Terrorism Financing Task Force on Tuesday. 

    http://www.talkmedianews.com/us-news/2016/04/19/us-largest-market-looting-antiquities-isis/

  • 18 Apr 2016 8:47 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Restoring Our Cultural Heritage In Syria —The Debate Over Why, How, When, By Whom,
    In What Order, & Who Pays? Intensifies!

    By Franklin Lamb

    16 April, 2016
    Countercurrents.org

    “It was a place to connect to your history, to your identity and to tell others, who were not from Aleppo or Syria: “This is where we are from. This is who we are.” This is where you come to encounter your roots. It was a place that existed forever, a place we thought would exist long after we were gone. But we were wrong.” (Amal Hanano, Lessons from the Minaret, 2013)

    For the past two months, since the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee amended legislative proposal H.R. 1493, known as the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act , the key bill has picked up stream on Capitol Hill with bi-partisan support. This week (4/13/2016), the full senate passed the measure by unanimous consent. This important legislation, which is expected to become law in the coming weeks, given its strong support also on the House side of Congress, calls for emergency import restrictions on at-risk Syrian cultural property within 90 days of President Obama’s signature. Rather than establishing a rather controversial cultural heritage czar called for in an earlier version, H.R. 1493 now calls for an inter-agency executive committee to protect international cultural property. 

    http://www.countercurrents.org/lamb160416.htm
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